Friday, November 2, 2007

DCMM: House of Pain

Anyone want to have a playdate at my house? I do have to warn you though that there is a 75-85% chance that your child will come home with a goose egg the size of a ping pong ball on his forehead.

For some reason my home is this deadly house of horror where anyone under five is at risk for a serious injury. I consider my house fairly standard, but I don't know anyone else who hosts as many injuries as I do.

Some examples:

Traumatic Injury #1: So I was babysitting the small child of a neighbor. I think he was three at the time. I was standing about a foot away from him when he tripped on my rug and wonked his face on my coffee table.

The bruise started to form almost immediately, but it didn't realize its full grotesque potential until after his (incredibly gracious) mom took him home. Of course I never saw the full damage because his mom thought that I would be too traumatized if I saw it, so she kept me away from him for the next week.

Traumatic Injury #2: My friend was babysitting a small child at a playdate at my home. I think she might have been three at the time too. She tripped on the very same place on my rug and smacked her head on the very same coffee table. Blood, bruising, and sadness commenced. And the little girl was upset too.

About two weeks later I banished the coffee table to the garage and got myself a nice soft ottoman table instead. No injuries thus far. Knock on wood.

Traumatic Injury #3: The same girl as in #2 was over for a playdate, this time with her mom. In my basement she tripped and fell into a bed frame. More blood. More sadness. A hasty retreat was beat. At this point I started to develop a complex. And I started making plans to remove the bed. Which is, happily, now gone.

Traumatic Injury #4: The daughter of the babysitter in #2 was over and playing in my basement. She was happily bouncing in my inflatable ball pit when an exuberant bounce carried her forehead directly into my cinderblock wall. She developed an immediate purple goose egg. I tried to think of how to banish the basement to the garage and get myself a padded room instead, but wasn't able to figure anything out. The basement remains, in its original deadly form.

Traumatic Injury #5: My youngest son fell down my basement stairs. From top to bottom. I had my back turned and didn't realize the door was open. He got snagged on the carpet on the top of the steps and tumbled down. He was, thankfully, almost entirely unscathed. (The traumatic injury was to my psyche.) For the remainder of the day he would spontaneously state, "I fall down stairs." I started thinking about sealing off the basement completely and denying that we ever had a bottom level.

Traumatic Injuries #6 & 7: My oldest and middle child were both injured in my home and started their new schools with obvious facial injuries. The oldest had a black eye (caused by the youngest banging his head into him) and the middle had a goose egg (from a mysterious post-bedtime injury) on his forehead. If the public school system keeps a list of potential child abusers, I'm sure that I'm on it.

Traumatic Injury #8: Just today a four year old here for a playdate fell off a bed onto something and instantly developed one of those goose eggs. I want to die.

I think there are more, but I'm pretty sure I've blocked them out. And I'm not even including injuries accidentally caused by my children off-premises. I don't know why I still have friends. I think I should invest in a bulk-pack of icepacks. Or I should rid my house of its contents and pad my walls.

Every time this happens to me I feel an immense amount of guilt. Does this happen to other people or is it just me? Please tell me it's not just me.

Jean chronicles her childrens' injuries at Stimeyland. Go there if you want to feel like a better parent.

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